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Vietnamese, Australian top legislators hold talks

Update: January, 22/2019 - 07:00
Chairwoman of the National Assembly Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân (right) receives President of the Australian Senate Scott Ryan in Hà Nội on Monday. — VNA/VNS Photo
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Chairwoman of the National Assembly (NA) Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân held talks with President of the Australian Senate Scott Ryan after an official welcome ceremony in Hà Nội on Monday.

At the meeting, Ngân expressed her hope that the high-ranking delegation would contribute to consolidating and promoting the two countries’ strategic partnership.

The Australian Senate President said Việt Nam-Australia relations are expanding across many sectors, particularly in education, trade, public administration, science-technology, and other strategic co-operation fields.

Ryan highlighted the growth of bilateral parliamentary ties based on signed agreements. He added that both sides had sustained their exchange of all-level delegations and experience in parliamentary activities, increased mutual understanding and bilateral co-operation, as well as supported each other at multilateral parliamentary forums.

The Australian parliament had worked closely with Việt Nam’s National Assembly in experience exchange and capacity building for deputies and particularly female legislators, he said.

Ngân expressed her delight at the effective co-operation between the two governments in the past, noting that the upgrade of relations to a strategic partnership – which was part of Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc’s official trip to Australia in March last year – had created good conditions for bilateral ties during the new development period. Within the framework of a strategic partnership, Việt Nam and Australia have three more annual ministerial dialogues due in foreign affairs, defence, and economics.

Bilateral trade has grown by 7 per cent annually. Australia has so far invested in 426 projects in Việt Nam worth nearly US$1.9 billion, ranking 19th out of the 128 countries and territories investing here.

The NA Chairwoman said she expected Australia to continue support for Việt Nam in developing basic infrastructure, agriculture, rural areas, and a high quality workforce; alleviating poverty; and adapting to climate change.

She highlighted that bilateral security-defence collaboration had been strengthened towards mutual trust and practical outcomes, particularly in terms of English language training, UN peacekeeping missions, and terrorism and trans-border crime prevention.

The Australian senator said Việt Nam had underlined its role in the region and exemplified its responsibilities to the international community via engagements in UN peacekeeping missions.

Regarding regional and international cooperation, the NA Chairwoman said she welcomed Australia’s 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper, which prioritised its relationships with Southeast Asia and ASEAN, including Việt Nam, as well as the country’s trilateral joint statement with US and Japan on investing in infrastructure development in the Asia-Pacific. 

She said Việt Nam would contribute to boosting ties between Australia and ASEAN, as well as with other regional countries, particularly at high-level meetings in the region.

Ngân also underscored close collaboration between the two nations at regional and international forums, especially the UN, the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC), the ASEAN, the ASEAN-Australia- New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA), and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

She used the occasion to thank the Australian Government for its support of Việt Nam’s bid for a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council for next year.

In addition, bilateral tourism co-operation is on the rise, with 420,000 Australian tourists visiting Việt Nam and more than 250 Vietnamese registering to the Australian working holiday visa programme.

Ngân said she expected that, once the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) goes through, these figures would increase significantly. She asked Australia to continue facilitating Vietnamese citizens taking part in the programme.

The top legislator also asked her guest to continue assisting the Vietnamese community in Australia.

Ryan agreed with his host in saying educational co-operation would lay the basis for increasing mutual understanding between the two countries, particularly among the youth.

Việt Nam and Australia signed collaboration agreements on education and training, as well as on vocational training for the 2018-23 period. There were nearly 30,000 Vietnamese students studying in Australia last year, making them the fifth biggest foreign student community in the country. Meanwhile, some 1,000 Australian students also studied in Việt Nam under the New Colombo Plan.

The Australian official said the relationship was a firm foundation for the development of economic ties in specific areas. 

He said Australia wants to stand side-by-side with Việt Nam during its development and help the country maintain its economic growth via human resources training and policy development programmes.
After being informed by his host that the Vietnamese NA ratified the CPTPP in November 2018, Ryan said the pact was an important achievement for countries in the region, helping them reduce trade barriers.

He said the CPTPP would support Việt Nam and Australia’s boosting of trade and economic partnerships.

At the talks, Ngân proposed the two parliaments increase delegation exchanges at all levels and via all channels, particularly between their specialised committees. 

The implementation of a memorandum of understanding on co-operation between the two law-making bodies, an action plan for 2016-19, and agreements and deals secured by the two countries in recent high-ranking visits were all necessary next steps, she added.

The top legislator also recommended facilitating people-to-people exchange, promote the role of friendship associations and friendship parliamentarians’ groups, and increase the exchange of such groups.

Praising Việt Nam’s hosting of the 26th annual meeting of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF-26) in 2018, Ryan asked Việt Nam to share its organisation experience so that Australia can hold the APPF-28 in 2020 successfully.  — VNS


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